Dialing in the RIO Scandi, by Topher Browne

The RIO Scandi is a new offering from RIO Products for 2014. Though new, the RIO Scandi is really an amalgam of two old friends: the RIO AFS and the RIO Steelhead Scandi. The RIO Scandi adds the new ConnectCore technology, the ultra-slick XS coating, and a bright orange rear loop to help you dial in your overhang with greater ease. Here are some thoughts on using the new line to best advantage.

The RIO Scandi is my “go-to” line for summer swing fishing. I use the line primarily for touch-and-go casts (snake roll, single spey), but the line works equally well with sustained-anchor or waterborne casts such as the c-spey/snap-t and the skagit-style double spey. If you have a reasonably quick tempo when making a c-spey or a skagit-style double spey, select a line that matches the “B” rating for your rod on the RIO 2014 Spey Line Recommendations chart.

For example, if you own a Sage ONE 8136-4 (13’6” rod for an 8-weight), choose the RIO Scandi in 520 grains (“B” rating) not the RIO Scandi in 480 grains (“A” rating). With a little practice, you should be able to make the four primary spey casts (c-spey, double spey, snake roll, single spey) with just one line: The RIO Scandi in 520 grains. This particular combination of rod and line provides maximum versatility for surface or near-surface presentations whether you’re traveling to Quebec in late June or British Columbia in early September.

If you use primarily skagit-style casts (c-spey, skagit-style double spey), you can also use the RIO Scandi as a floating skagit head. Selecting the right weight for your preferred style is important. You might try the RIO Scandi at 540 grains with the Sage ONE 8136-4, if you wish to duplicate the deeper load and the timing you enjoy with a Skagit line and a RIO MOW tip.

If you look closely at the RIO Scandi line-up, you’ll notice that there are two different head lengths for two similar head weights. For example, the RIO Scandi is available at 510 grains (34 feet) and also at 520 grains (38 feet). I select the shorter head length (510 grains at 34 feet) for the Sage ONE 8136-4 when using a RIO VersiLeader. I typically use a VersiLeader to prevent a wet fly from skating on the surface. The shorter head balances better, to my tastes anyway, with the VersiLeader than the longer head (520 grains at 38 feet).

I use the RIO Scandi 520 grains (38 feet) on the Sage ONE 8136-4 when using a 15-foot (or longer) monofilament leader. The slightly longer head has a few more grains to make up for the absence of a Versileader. I also use the longer length of line to help “grab my anchor” for touch-and-go casts (snake roll, single spey). In spey-casting terms, I use more of the fly line to form the anchor when using the longer head with a monofilament leader. When casting the shorter head (510 grains at 34 feet), I use less of the fly line to form the anchor due to the additional weight and the extra “stick” of a sinking VersiLeader.

ConnectCore technology (i.e. ultra-low-stretch core fly lines) makes a very real difference when swing fishing. ConnectCore technology almost certainly improves loop formation, but its real benefits come from improved sensitivity when a steelhead or a salmon takes the fly. As there is far less stretch in the RIO Scandi (as compared to standard fly lines), you feel the fish more quickly. This feature is particularly important with sinking lines, where “feeling” and “touch” are important benefits for fish you can’t see.

ConnectCore technology is equally useful with floating lines when the fish are simply stopping a waking fly or a hitched fly in the current. These fish may not hold on to the fly for very long. When you decide to set the hook, you want a fly line that complies. Once you get used to the technology, it’s tough to go back to standard fly lines. As the name implies, you feel connected to your fish. If the tug truly is the drug, ultra-low-stretch fly lines deliver adrenaline in carefully measured doses.

You’ll need a running line to go with your RIO Scandi shooting head. The new RIO GripShooter provides the handling ease of a coated fly line with the “shootability” of monofilament lines. A thicker, coated handling section of 15 to 18 feet provides maximum grip in cold weather or for those who find monofilament difficult to hold. This handling section transitions to a hard nylon shooting line for ultimate distance and ease of casting. Simply attach the orange loop of the GripShooter to the orange loop of the RIO Scandi shooting head. Add a RIO 12-foot or 15-foot Steelhead/Atlantic Salmon Leader and you’re ready to fish.

If you like to kick it “old school,”—in other words, you prefer your shooting head and your running line to be two different colors—use RIO Powerflex Shooting Line or RIO SlickShooter (http://www.rioproducts.com/fly-lines/spey/shooting-lines/slickshooter/). If you want the benefits of ultra-low stretch in your shooting line, choose the new ConnectCore Shooting Line and attach the opposite end of the shooting line (the non-orange end) to the orange loop at the rear of the RIO Scandi Shooting Head.

If you’re looking for maximum fun up on top with your two-hander, attach the new RIO Scandi to the shooting line on your reel. Keep your fly in the water, and don’t forget to send the good folks at RIO Products a photo of a fish you caught on the new RIO Scandi.

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